By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – The Corinth School District will take the next big step in implementing the “eMerge: Learning for the Future” initiative when students throughout the district gain access to personal technology in the classroom beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
Superintendent Lee Childress danced across the stage and down the aisle of the gym at Corinth High School on Friday to the beat of the Corinth High School band and enthusiastic shouts of encouragement from hundreds of students from pre-K through 12th grade.
Students were bused from Corinth Elementary and Corinth Middle School campuses for the special event.
“This is all about the children,” Childress said. “Today we’re talking about how we’re making learning fun and relevant for them.”
All students in the school district will be involved in the one-on-one initiative, Childress said, with every student having an electronic device to be used in the classroom.
• Students pre-K through second grade will be issued iPads. Students in third and fourth grades will be issued MacBooks.
• Fifth- through eighth-graders will be issued MacBooks for classroom use, and sixth-graders and above will be able to take their MacBooks home and be issued a backpack for them.
• High school students will be issued MacBooks and backpacks so they’ll be able to use their computers in the classroom and at home.
“Libraries will become Internet zones, and we’ll be rethinking our cellphone policy as well,” Childress said.
Some of the technologies that students will use on their school-issued devices may be ones they’re already using on smartphones, tablets and so forth, he said.
Mandatory training sessions for parents and the students will be offered during the summer.
Childress said it’s critical that families understand the parameters the students must adhere to in using the school district’s equipment. Unless parents agree to the those terms, the students will not be assigned the equipment.
Teachers have used school district laptops for three years, he said, and already have been through extensive training.
More training in using technology to provide personal learning experiences for the students will be provided in three days of special training in the summer and an additional five days at the start of school.
Corinth becomes the latest Mississippi school district to provide MacBooks for its students. The Tupelo Public School District has provided the devices to its sixth- to 12th-grade students since the 2010-11 school year, although it only did so for those in seventh grade and above this year. It also has iPads and laptops for younger grades.
The Clinton School District began a similar initiative this fall, and New Albany Schools now provides laptops to all third- to fifth-graders for classroom use.
Corinth’s announcement is part of its ambitious eMerge initiative that also includes expanding pre-K, rolling out a literacy program and changing classroom approaches, among other things.